Municipal Solid Waste: To the Landfill or the Incinerator?

by Nadja Redmond

A global phenomenon is slowly beginning to pick up traction and conversation in the United States: energy recovery through use of waste to energy facilities. WtE, the waste management process that involves generating electricity and/or heat from waste through combustion, is already widely used in Europe. By 2014, Europe had 452 such facilities [http://www.cewep.eu/information/data/studies/m_1488], and compared to the United States’ 71, it is no secret there is an ongoing debate on whether WtE facilities are effective or hazardous for the environment and for the communities they inhabit. When the country produces over 250 million tons of municipal solid waste a year [https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=25732], alternative routes of waste management and energy recovery that utilizes that waste that have proved effective overseas are worth considering. Continue reading

New UAE Partnership Plans to Improve Waste-Energy Process

by Isaiah Boone

In a post from January 20th, 2016 Albawaba Business released an article detailing the recent strategic partnership agreement between one of the largest energy companies and one of the largest waste-management companies in the middle east. The agreement is a part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Government’s Vision 2021, a large initiative by the UAE to improve various economic and social aspects of the country. [http://www.vision2021.ae/en] An important component of the initiative is a commitment towards sustainable energy and waste practices, and thus the implications of this agreement are closely tied to how successful the Vision 2021 plan will become. [http://www.vision2021.ae/en/national-priority-areas/sustainable-environment-and-infrastructure] Continue reading

Incentivizing Renewable Energy Projects from Landfills

by Shannon O’Neill

Every year, a total of 164 million tons of waste is disposed of in landfills. This has created a concern for waste management, particularly due to the fact that landfills are the third largest source of methane, a greenhouse gas that negatively effects the environment. However, methane has been developed as an energy source, in which it is recaptured and used to power homes and businesses. Today, there are more than 630 landfill gas energy projects that together, produce 16.5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity a year. This is enough energy to provide for 1.5 million homes. The picture above suggests an additional approach of adding photovoltaics, but this post is just about biogas Continue reading